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Mailbag: IT Dream Job, More

Last week, Doug wrote about a list of the "coolest" IT jobs, as determined by IT pros. Here's one reader's idea of a dream IT job:

Being the 'Net admin for a giant adult entertainment dot-com.

And here are more of your thoughts on whether Microsoft should win or lose the "Vista Capable" label lawsuit:

According to Merriam-Webster's magic book: "Capable: Having attributes (as physical or mental power) required for performance or accomplishment."

System requirements meet the basic needs to perform or accomplish the features included to perform all functions within Vista Basic, in my opinion. I don't think the Vista Capable labels are misleading.

This is the worst sort of "gotcha." Microsoft should lose this one. Has it completely lost sight of taking care of its customers? Regardless of the verdict, it needs to re-examine how it is treating customers if this is how it intends to operate.

Frankly, I find this argument laughable. I've been around since the days of PC-DOS 2.0 and whatever Microsoft claimed to be a minimum configuration was always off by a factor of two! (If you wanted acceptable performance.) So why are people just now complaining about this? "Vista Capable" means an 800MHz Pentium-class processor, 512MB of RAM and a 20GB HDD. Microsoft has always been upfront about this.

Well, guess what? In June 2006, I was able to get my circa-2000 Dell Dimension 4100 (866MHz, 512MB RAM, 100GB HDD) to run Vista. Granted it was UGLY and dog-slow to boot, but once booted, it was stable on this six-year-old machine. I could even use it to run Outlook against my employer's Exchange server using 802.11b and VPN, and still browse the Internet! In the spring of 2007, I bought a low-end Celeron with 512MB RAM with Vista Basic from Compaq and it ran reasonably well without Aero. I upgraded it to Vista Ultimate and it even ran Aero with only 512MB of RAM, but it really needed 1GB to run satisfactorily. As RAM prices dropped, I upgraded it to 2GB and it has had absolutely no problems. Even this lame, entry-level PC sold in 2007 went from being "Vista Capable" to being "Vista Premium Ready" by doing nothing more than adding a $10, 512MB DIMM. What made it even better was spending $32 on it to put in 2GB of RAM. Over all, not a bad investment.

In the end, if you expected "Vista Capable" to mean that any six-year-old computer would run Vista well, you were just plain naive. If you bought a new computer since January 2007, you got what you were promised.

Microsoft should lose. But if it admits this, and it begins to inform potential Vista users openly about what is REALLY needed to run Vista in all its incarnations, it will win big-time -- in terms of its reputation for honesty. It's a new OS. What is wrong with telling people that some machines may not run it? Or run it well?

It is my opinion that based on following Microsoft's products and philosophy from the early '80s to today that labeling PCs "Vista Capable" when they can only support Vista Basic with their current configuration is not only deceiving, but also contrary to the company's philosophy.

I agree with your comment regarding the average person not understanding the difference between the PC hardware requirements for running Vista Basic verses running the Vista Home Premium, Vista Business or Vista Ultimate. It is a shame that the current "I'm a PC" marketing campaign strongly voices that there are no problems with Vista when consumers are bullied into believing this hype and then perhaps buying a low-end PC marked "Vista Capable" and a Vista Ultimate Upgrade -- only to discover that the darn thing won't install.

Granted, one cannot blame the Vista product in and of itself for this mishap, but one can certainly say that the purchased PC should not have said it was "Vista Capable" when it can only support Vista Basic. It should state so on the label and Microsoft should resolve this issue with its partners instead of trying to sweep another important issue under the rug.

I think the argument between Microsoft and the hardware manufacturers was probably like junior high:

HP/Dell/IBM: Can we say our two-year-old hardware will run Vista?
MS: Well, it won't run the most likely Home version, Vista Home Premium, so you probably shouldn't say it can.
HP/Dell/IBM: But come on, it will run ONE version of Vista. And we already have so many of them built. If you don't let us sell them as capable, we'll have to NOT sell them and eat the cost. And that's not our fault that we built too many that wouldn't be compatible. It's not like WE control what WE build.
MS: ???
HP/Dell/IBM: OK, maybe we do. But can we, can we please? Make up some fancy sticker that doesn't say *which* version of Vista, just *a* version.
MS: Fine, whatever. But you better not later offer to roll back those computers and offer XP.
HP/Dell/IBM: We've learned our lesson. We would never do that!


Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on November 24, 2008